COMPLAINTS involving doctors’ fitness to practise increased again in 2012 by 18 per cent but the number of panel hearings fell, according to statistics published by the GMC.
In its 2012 Fitness to Practise Annual Statistics Report the GMC reports that referrals from persons acting in a public capacity (PAPC), for example on behalf of an NHS Trust, increased by 35 per cent compared to a 9 per cent rise in complaints from members of the public. There was a 34 per cent increase in referrals from the ‘other’ category (doctors, other public organisations, press cuttings). However, the majority (59 per cent) of GMC enquiries still come from members of the public.
The increase in reported complaints is in contrast to a drop in the number of fitness to practise panel hearings – 208 in 2012 compared to 242 in 2011. The total number of doctors erased or suspended fell in 2012 to 55 and 64 respectively compared with 93 and 65 in 2011.
The proportion of enquiries closed at triage continues to increase. In 2012 the GMC closed 60 per cent of enquiries at triage, up from 56% in 2011. This continues the trend seen in previous years.